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Man of Straw

Original title
Der Untertan (Man of Straw) (The Kaiser's Lackey) (The Subject) (The Underdog)
Year
Running time
109 min.
Country
Germany - East Germany (GDR) Germany - East Germany (GDR)
Director
Screenwriter
Fritz Staudte, Wolfgang Staudte (Novel: Heinrich Mann)
Music
Horst Hans Sieber
Cinematography
Robert Baberske
Cast
, , , , ,
Producer
Deutsche Film
Genre
Drama | 19th Century. Politics
Synopsis / Plot
Diederich Heßling is scared of everything and everyone. But as he grows up, he comes to realize that he has to offer his services to the powers-that-be if he wants to wield power himself. His life motto now runs: bow to those at the top and tread on those below. In this way, he always succeeds: as a student in a duel-fighting student fraternity and as a businessman in a paper factory. He cajoles the obese district administrative president Von Wulkow and wins his favor. He slanders his financial rivals and hatches a plot with the social democrats in the town council. On his honeymoon with his rich wife Guste, he finally finds a chance to do his beloved Kaiser a favor. And when a memorial to the Kaiser is unveiled in the town where Diederich lives and works, he delivers the address. He stands behind the lectern in the pouring rain, saluting his Kaiser. The crowd is dispersed. Everything is laid in ruins...
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